Lesson 14

D Major Pentascale

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Hello, and welcome back. I'm Joseph Hoffman.
Today we are learning a new skill. It's called transposing.
Let me show you on the piano what it means to transpose.

Let's say you want to play Chocolate. Place your fingers on C, D, E, F, G,
which we can also call the C Major pentascale.
But let's pretend that you just woke up,
so your eyes are still feeling a little blurry, and by accident,
you place your right hand finger one on D, instead of C.
So it sounds like this. Sounds a little different, doesn't it?
We just transposed to the key of D minor.
Transposing means taking music into a new position, either higher or lower.
We could play chocolate starting on any key we wanted.
It doesn't have to start on C. We could start in the key of G.
We could even start on a black key. But let's come back to the key of D.
When I play Chocolate in the key of D,
is there a note that sounds a little funny to you? Listen carefully.
Aha, right here. This F sounds a little sad to me. To understand why,
we need to come back to the C Major pentascale.

These notes have letter names, C, D, E, F, G. But they also have names in Solfege.
Can you sing them with me? DO, RE, MI, FA, SO.
Good, now this is important. Letter names are fixed. They can't move around.
A C is always a C, right here, and this key will always be a D.
But Solfege patterns can move around. They're not locked to just one key.
It may help to pretend for right now that DO, RE, MI, FA, and SO
are five people in a family, with Daddy DO, or Mr. DO to you at the bottom,
and RE, MI, FA, and SO, are all the kids. Now in this family,
most people like to have their own personal space.
|Notice how DO and RE have a black key in between them.
When two notes, white or black, have exactly one key in between them,
we call it a whole step. It's like they each have their own bedroom,
with a wall in between. So DO to RE is a whole step. RE to MI is also a whole step
because they have a black key in between them. But here's where things change.
Is there a black key between MI and FA? That's because MI and FA
are like best friends. Maybe they're twin sisters or twin brothers,
and they like to be really close to each other.
So let's actually give them a special color to help us remember that.
Maybe it's like they're sharing the same bedroom.
When two keys on the piano have no note in between, we call that a half step.
So MI and FA form a half step. Then, finally, we have FA and SO.
Do FA and SO make a half step or a whole step?
If you said whole step, you are correct. There is a black key in between again,
so you know it is a whole step.

Now let's review from Mr. DO again. We start on DO, then say it with me,
we go up a whole step, then another whole step, then a half step,
then a whole step. When you follow that pattern of half steps and whole steps,
you get a major pentascale. Now, lets pretend that Mr. DO doesn't want his family
to live in the key of C anymore. Can families move to a new house sometime?
Yes, sure they can. Remember, letters cannot move, but Solfege can.
Mr. DO decides that he wants to move to the key of D. So here we go,
he's going to move his whole family together-–families stick together––
so now, here's the whole family, with Mr. DO, now in the key of D.
Uh oh, can you see a problem? Remember how MI and FA are best friends?
Well, now they have a black key in between them.
Listen to how sad MI feels about this. Oh man, can you hear how sad MI is?
DO, RE, MI. Well, fortunately, Mr. DO has a solution.
He builds a bunk bed for MI on this black key. So now,
MI and FA are a half step apart again. See, there's no key in between.
You'll notice that now, RE to MI is a whole step
because there is exactly one key in between.
Now everyone has their personal space who wants it, except for MI and FA,
who are a half step apart again.

Let's listen to see how Chocolate sounds in the key of D Major.
Does everyone sound happy again? Yes, everyone has their personal space
who wants it, and MI and FA are a half step apart again.
By the way, when we shift one half step up, like this, from here to here,
we call that a sharp. So we call this note F. If we move to the black key,
we call this F sharp.

Well, I've done a lot of talking. It's time to play.
Let's try the D Major pentascale together. Place your right hand, finger one,
on D. Finger two on E, finger three on F sharp, finger four on G, and finger five,
can you tell me the letter name of this note here? If you said A, you are correct.
Remember we have Grandma's house, this is her bedroom,
and Aunt Annie's bedroom right here for finger five.
Okay, as we play, can you sing the solfege with me,
with your fingers on these keys? ...